Friday, 25 June 2010

[WC2010] Prandelli to be unveiled

The President of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) Giancarlo Abete confirmed Cesare Prandelli will be officially unveiled as the new coach of now-deposed world champions Italy on July 1.

Incumbent Marcello Lippi's tenure as head coach effectively ended on Thursday when the reigning champions were embarrassingly bundled out of the World Cup in South Africa following a shock 3-2 defeat to Slovakia.

That left them bottom of what had looked a fairly easy Group F, including Paraguay and rank-outsiders New Zealand, and condemned the Azzurri to their worst ever World Cup showing.

But under-fire Abete spoke of the need to start from scratch to reinvigorate the national team.

"I feel great sadness for yesterday's very negative result," Abete said from Italy's Casa Azzurri camp, just south of Pretoria. "The Federation needs to start over, I know exactly how important football is in Italy, how important the national team is to tens of millions of fans and from July 1 Prandelli will be presented as the new coach.

"Prandelli has been picked for his technical abilities and not simply for his character.

"Without doubt the objective with Prandelli is to engage in a long period of co-operation, he will have a four-year contract, hence taking him to the end of the next World Cup (in Brazil in 2014)."

Just as Lippi, who won the World Cup with Italy in 2006 before taking a two-year sabbatical, took full responsibility for the team's failure, Abete was not shirking his part in the blame either.

"I have the responsibility of being the President of the federation and hence the team," he said.

"I chose Lippi and I don't regret that. There's no need to regret the choice after the European Championships of taking back the coach who had won the World Cup," he said before lamenting the lack of quality in Italian football and the lack of Italian players playing in big clubs.

"There's a deficiency in the competitiveneness of the Italian team and the result was yesterday's dramatic effect.

"It's not about being pessimistic for the future, but being realistic and reactionary.

"We have legitimate worries which is not pessimism. We have a problem that many players are not getting international experience.

"It's the same in all championships but many big clubs don't have Italians on their roster and the top Italian players don't have the experience of playing at the top level. We have little expertise at the top level."

Six of Italy's starting XI against Slovakia played Champions League football last season but three of those (Juventus's Vincenzo Iaquinta and Gennaro Gattuso and Gianluca Zambrotta of AC Milan) played little due to a combination of injuries and not always being first choice for their clubs.

However, Abete said that could not explain the country's inept showing in the first half against the Slovaks, and in their previous two 1-1 draws against Paraguay and minnows New Zealand.

"The failure to beat New Zealand made the players lose confidence because the first half against Slovakia left everyone dumbfounded," he said.

"In the first half we didn't even manage to string two passes together, it wasn't a case of pushing, creating but not finishing.

"That first half, objectively, was unwatchable. It wasn't a problem with physical preparation, the players failed to understand the importance of the game and didn't have faith in their own abilities."

Those sentiments were echoed by Gianni Petrucci, the head of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI), the governing body for all sport in Italy.

"The elimination represents a bitter moment for football and all sport in Italy but we have to keep our feet on the ground without any summary trials," said Petrucci.

"What's happened has happened, but my experience has taught me not to analyse things straight away, but to do it when everything cools down.

"Naturally I'm very sad, both as head of CONI and as an Italian.

"Once they get back to Italy I will offer the FIGC President Giancarlo Abete all the support he needs."

Source: AFP

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